Monday, March 2, 2009

First Day of the Fast

Today is the first day of Lent, the Great Fast to prepare us for the feast of Pascha.
The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew says, "The fast proposed to us by our Holy Church is not any deprivation, but a charisma. And the repentance to which it calls us is not any punishment, but a divine gift." Link to Encyclical by Bartholomew
The fast is for our spiritual benefit helping us to control our bodily instincts so they can be directed to glorify God rather than ourselves leading us toward union with God and eternal life in His kingdom. Fast according to your means advises Saint Athanasius the Great. Make a rule for your fast and stick to it throughout the Lenten period. Holy Week and Pascha will take on a new and deeper meaning for you.
Link to more by Athanasius on Fasting

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